Marathon runners could be increasing their risk of having a stroke by taking part in races they are not prepared for, according to new research.
Scientists from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada tested athletes before and after a 26-mile run, finding that some had damaged their heart muscle.
Athletes that had not prepared correctly for the event were found to have caused damage to their hearts that would take up to three months for the body to repair - leading to an elevated risk of heart attack or stroke in this time.
"Without proper training, marathon running can damage your heart. Fortunately the exercise-induced injury is reversible over time," said study lead author Dr Eric Larose, speaking to delegates at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress.
According to statistics produced by the Stroke Association, someone in the UK has a stroke every five minutes - equating to around 150,000 cases each year.
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